Anger at Vodafone greenfield site

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The Independent Online
ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners were demanding a public inquiry yesterday after a council gave Vodafone planning permission to build its new global headquarters on green-belt land.

West Berkshire Council voted by 25 votes to 18 to give the mobile phone giant the go-ahead to build on a site at Shaw, outside Newbury, Berkshire.

The decision has been criticised by campaigners, who said the offices would lead to the development of land between the town and the recently completed and controversial bypass.

They also accused Vodafone of having held the town to ransom by threatening to pull out its 3,500 workforce unless it received permission to relocate from the town centre.

Vodafone had earlier amended its proposals to provide pounds 10m for a green transport plan, including buses, for people to reach the site.

The decision coincides with a report by the Council for the Protection of Rural England, saying traffic jams and concrete-covered fields were eroding the beauty of the countryside.

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